Now there are a dozen of ’em! • November 29, 2015
Mt. Haynes #12 – Frigid Winter
Ink, inked collage and surface alteration on paper. 18″ x 24″
I’ve finished my TWELFTH Mt. Haynes picture!
This was one of several that have been languishing, ready to be torn up for scrap. But then it occurred to me that with such chopped up studio time (I haven’t had enough of it to tackle anything new), I had perfect guinea pigs for an aggressive experiment; just how far I could actually take my grinding, scraping and sanding before my pictures were ruined or my paper simply gave out?
I still don’t know! This new picture has been horribly beat up, patched and reinforced, yet the process has left it looking rather well worn and lovely. And it’s perplexing – awkward and even naive in some areas, yet quite sophisticated too. It might take me awhile to truly figure out what happened here.
I still have two more mountains I might save. Maybe I’ll manage it by week’s end!
Your Buddy Bill
Here is how this picture was finished
It looked like this when I started back into it. Although there were some fine looking marks and textures happening, the overall effect was rather discombobulated. And what about that odd tree in the foreground? I’m not quite sure what was going on with that, but for some reason, I liked it.
In this next view, you can see how I just plain pummeled that mountainside, slashing in ink and then grinding and ripping into it before it dried! I also wet-scrubbed a vague sort of top for the tree – not a very kind thing to do to either paper or a brush! Last of all, I sanded and scrapped the sky in the upper right, so skinning the paper that it’s only tissue thin in spots.
I had this insistent hunch that what my picture really needed was another big ol’ tree in the foreground, right in the middle – which is the worst place to put anything that might become a disaster! I also felt that success lay in new texture, and that my second tree should also have some sort of gray area/aura/brush swipe around it too. There are a lot of times when picture making doesn’t make much sense!
As I so often do when I must ad lib and I don’t know how, I photographed my drawing, took it into Photoshop and started messing around. If you look below, you’ll see I threw in more marks, like that big, polka dotted, horizontal band just behind the trees and – – – hey, wait a minute, where the heck did that other tree come from? Well, being a clever little art thief, I simply lifted it from a beautiful Japanese woodblock print by a guy named Joichi Hoshi. There’s nothing wrong with seeing how something like that might look, okay?
I really admired Hoshi’s tree, but I couldn’t actually use it could I? I was on my own and facing problems: it’s damned hard to put a ghostly, white tree in an area that is already in ink, especially if the paper there is also on the brink of failing. There was no way this was going to turn out ideally.
But then of course, the notion of what’s ideal can change unexpectedly. My paper did fail, and peel, and pill up. It did everything I didn’t want it to. I tried to collage a patch in, but that went down less than ideally. My poor old tree scrubbed in so crudely that I was appalled. Next came the staring at it part, where I tried to figure out whether there was any way to salvage the mess. Do you know what? The more I looked at it, the more I began to like the crude. I liked it a whole lot better than that delicate looking stolen tree, and though I had intended to take my tree much further, in the end I decided not to.
What I did do though, was drag in more ink, scrub and scrape a lot of it back out, and then prod and pick at my picture until I at last came to a standstill. This I chose to believe meant I was done. Here is the finished picture again: